by History of Time: Old Syrian Nation and Church, page 228.
Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 at 03:50 PM CT
“It is a thing of common knowledge among the Mussalmans of Hakkiari that there was a special firman granted by the Prophet to our house, and therewith, as the universal belief went, a certain special knife of his giving that was preserved to the time of Bedru Khan Beg (1845).”
— Surma D'Bait Mar Shimun
The agreement between Mohammed and the Syrian Christians of Nazarai between Islam and Christendom is a manuscript of great scientific value, and it is highly treasured by the Syrian Christians. The original document is currently located in Istanbul, Turkey. It shielded and protected them against the attacks of the Islamites. The document had such a power, that wherever it was shown, the followers of Islam would drop their weapons and obey the command of the prophet - to leave the Syrian Christians unharmed. If a Moslem disobeyed this command he would be guilty of an offense, that would exclude him from the blessings of heaven forever.
“The Covenant of Omar,” which is referred to in:
a. Samuel Hugh Moffett, "A History of Christianity in Asia," vol. 1, second revised edition. New York: Orbis Books, 1998, page 345. Moffett quotes Tritton, "Caliphs," 12ff., quoting from the "Kitab ul Umm."
“The Charter of Protection,” written in A.D. 1138, granted by Muktafi II (1136-1160), Caliph of Baghdad, to Patriarch Abdisho III (1138-1147).
Photocopy of the Arabic version and the English translation is published in:
a. Alphose Mangana, ed. "A Charter of Protection Granted to the Nestorian Church in A.D. 1138 by Muktafi II, Caliph of Baghdad." Published in the official magazine of the Assyrian Church of the East "Voice From the East," vol. 1, no. 3 (April 1, 1983) issue, page 2.
“Assyrian Church Customs and the Murder of Mar Shimun” by Surma D'Bait Mar Shimun
The Firman of the Prophet Mahommed, Granted to the Patriarchal House, page 63:
It is a thing of common knowledge among the Mussalmans of Hakkiari that there was a special firman granted by the Prophet to our house, and therewith, as the universal belief went, a certain special knife of his giving that was preserved to the time of Bedru Khan Beg (1845).
Once in the year, a selected Mollah of Julamerk used to come up and read that document in the public assembly. Further, the strictest Moslems, who will not as a rule eat anything that has been slaughtered by a Christian, will eat without hesitation of any animal slaughtered by a member of the Patriarchal family.
These things were kept among the treasures of the Patriarchate till the day of the massacre, and when the firman, which was then captured, was brought and shown to Bedru Khan, he exclaimed, “The curse of Allah be upon Nurullah Beg of Julamerk, for he it was who stirred me up against the firman of the prophet. Had I known that this house possessed this firman, I should never have dared to go against them. May God require this war of you.” The firman was engrossed in letters of gold, on parchment, and was written “circlewise,” with the print of a hand in the middle. (This is an ancient type of Arab script. The print of the hand of the donor of the grant was impressed in the middle of the parchment, and the substance of the decree written round it, in one continuous spiral.) The knife had a shaft of silver, with a piece of red coral set in the pommel, and an inscription inlaid in gold on the blade.
"God has told me in a vision what to do, and I confirm His command by giving my solemn promise to keep this agreement."
"To the followers of the Islam I say: Carry out my command, protect and help the Nazarene nation in this country of ours in their own land. Leave their places of worship in peace; help and assist their chief and their priests when in need of help, be it in the mountains, in the desert, on the sea, or at home. Leave all their possessions alone, be it houses or other property, do not destroy anything of their belongings, the followers of Islam shall not harm or molest any of this nation, because the Nazarenes are my subjects, pay tribute to me and will help the Moslems. No tribute, but what is agreed Upon, shall be collected from them, their church buildings shall be left as they are, they shall not be altered, their priests shall be permitted to teach and worship in their own way-the Nazarenes have full liberty of worship in their churches and homes. None of their churches shall be torn down, or altered into a mosque, except by the consent and free will of the Nazarenes. If any one disobeys this command, the anger of God and his prophet shall be upon him."
"The tribute paid the Nazarenes shall be used to promote the teachings of Islam and shall be deposited at the treasury of Beth Almal. A common man shall pay one denar (piece of money), but the merchants and people who own mines of gold and silver and are rich shall pay twelve denars. Strangers and people who have no houses or other settled property shall not have taxes levied upon them. If a man inherits property he shall pay a settled sum to the Beth-Almal treasury. The Christians are not obliged to make war on the enemies of Islam, but if an enemy attacks the Christians, the Mohammedans shall not deny their help, but give them horses and weapons, if they need them, and protect them from evils from outside and keep the peace with them. The Christians are not obliged to turn Moslems, until God’s will makes them believers."
"The Mohammedans shall not force Christian women to accept Islam, but if they themselves wish to embrace it, the Mohammedans shall be kind to them."
"If a Christian woman is married to a Mohammedan and does not want to embrace Islam, she has liberty to worship at her own church according to her own religious belief, and her husband must not treat her unkindly on account of her religion. If any one disobeys this command, he disobeys God and his prophet and will be guilty of a great offense."
"If the Nazarenes wish to build a church, their Mohammedan neighbors shall help them. This shall be done, because the Christians have obeyed us and have come to us and pleaded for peace and mercy."
"If there be among the Christians a great and learned man the Mohammedans shall honor him and not be envious of his greatness."
"If any one is unjust and unkind to the Christians he will be guilty of disobeying the prophet of God."
"The Christians should not shelter an enemy of Islam or give him horse, weapon or any other help. If a Mohammedan is in need the Christian shall for three days and nights be his host and shelter him from his enemies. The Christians shall, furthermore, protect the Mohammedan women and children and not deliver them up to the enemy or expose them to view. If the Nazarenes fail to fulfil these conditions, they have forfeited their right to protection, and the agreement is null and void."
"This document shall be intrusted to the Christian chief and head of their church for safe keeping."
Here follows the signatures of Mohammed and his foremost men and followers:
Omar Ben Chetab
Moavijah Ibn Abi Sofijan
Abdula Ibn Masud
Abdulah Ibn Abas
Hamza Ibn Almulabb
Fazl Ibn Abas
Zaibar Ibn Aqam
Tilha Ibn Abdullah
Saad Ben Maaz
Sabeh Ibn Kebis
Jazid Ibn Sabid
Abdullah Ben Jazid
Suhail Ibn Mifah
Othman Ibn Mazum
David Ibn Gijah
Abdullah Ibn Omar Alqazi
Ebar Ibn Jaamir
Hashim Ibn Azijah
Hasan Ibn Zabid
Kab Ibn Kab
Kab Ibn Malech
Jafar Ibn Abu Falib."
"The peace of God be over them all! This agreement is written by Moavijah Ben Sofian, according to the dictates of Mohammed, the messenger of God, in the 4th year of the Hegira in the city of Medina."